A friend of mine found this fantastic Vietnamese restaurant which has been opened for many many years. I was wondering what took us so long to try it. I guess; when it comes to Vietnamese food, we always think of the 13th arrondissment instead of the 5th.
We wanted something simple for lunch and Foyer des Étudiants Vietnamien was the perfect place. The restaurant is very simply decorated. Its like a canteen in any university. All the staff is Vietnamese, young and friendly. There are no reservations; first come first serve. We had read how popular this place is so we rushed to get a table for six. We were very lucky to get a table right away.
Le Foyer des Étudiants has an extensive menu with basic Vietnamese dishes. But, they also have an amazingly cheap lunch menu for only 12 euros. The lunch menu gives you a choice of entrée, main dish and a choice between wine or dessert. We all chose the lunch menu and we all chose the phó for the entree and bun bo thit for the main dish.
The phó was very good. The bouillon had a rich taste of beef bones, anais, onion, cinnamon and ginger. The noodles were cooked just right and there was lots of raw beef, fresh onions & herbs to add to the taste and texture. It was what we needed after freezing in Versaille; a warm bowl of delicious phó.
The main dish that we all chose was bun thit bo (rice vermicelli with beef). A very simple dish but one of my favourites for lunch. As a poor student, this was one of the dishes I lived on and loved. It consist of rice vermicelli, lots of fresh vegetable & herbs, bean sprouts, sautéed beef, cha gio (deep fried Vietnamese spring rolls are optional), crushed roasted peanuts and all toped with nuoc mam.
Our bun thit bo arrived on the table and looked so yummy. It really is difficult to skrew up this dish. Even me; not a very good cook can make a good bun thit bo. This dish is really refreshing because of all the fresh ingredients. The sautéed beef and cha gio were the only warm foods in this dish. The contrast of cold and warm, soft and crunchy, spicy, salty and sweet makes this simple dish a sensation.
Extra herbs to add to the phó and bun thit bo. This the the photo of my bun thit bo after mixing everthing together.
Foyer des Etudiants Vietnamiens
80 Rue Monge, 75005 Paris
01 45 35 32 54